Saint Seiya: Hades: Chapter 2: Inferno Review


It’s time to return to the world of Saint Seiya. The first OVA was a solid start to the Hades saga. I really liked the creative use of CGI which helped to mask the lack of animation at times. It also gave the OVA a very grand feel. Well, that is gone from this special but the animation is much better so it feels like we’re back to the original show in a good way. I would say this OVA improves on the first one even considering that the amazing clash of Athena Exclamations has already passed.

The OVA starts off with with the saints making it into the heart of the Underworld. Their mission is clear, they need to take Hades down and bring Athena back to the world of the living. It won’t be easy though as the Underworld has many castles and specters at the ready to foil their every move. Seiya and Shun are the characters in one plot while Shiryu and Andromeda work with Gemini Kanon in the other. Will the divide and conquer tactic work (Not like it’s really their choice though) or will they now be picked off. Also, where is the man known as Phoenix Ikki?

Maybe part of why this OVA feels like we’re going back to the roots of the show is because we’re going through the whole “Take down each Specter at each castle” routine that each arc of the show always went through. It’s nice and nostalgic to see the characters going through the motions. The big difference here is that we actually have a Gold Saint who can hold his own this time. Kanon really does well in each of the fights and reminds me why he is one of the best Saints in the show. The guy seems more reasonable than most and gets several fights in this OVA.

Before going further, I have to say that it’s still such a cool move when the heroes start taking their opponents down while keeping their eyes closed. It’s probably more of a stylistic approach then their literally closing their eyes at key moments but the animations have always kept this detail and I appreciate it. What’s more hype than letting a villain know that you don’t even have to keep your eyes open to win a fight right?

All right, so back to the plot. Most of the episodes are focused on the Seiya and Shun plot. They make quite a lot of progress through the temples. There is a time limit though so they have to beat these specters quickly. It’s just good nostalgic fun to see them going from place to place. They also make for a good duo with Shun as a support type while Seiya is all about offense. Meanwhile Shun and Shiryu are also on the case but are having trouble defeating any of the specters. It’s a rough stretch for them but up til now they’ve never seemed to be so out of their depth so it’s kind of interesting to see them like this. Then you have Athena and Shaka moving forward with their own plan to defeat Hades which takes a while for any pay off but it’s always fun to have their cameos.

As always Seiya is a great character here. He’s always the last one to give up and keeps on fighting until he gets the edge. It takes a lot of resolve to always be getting up with the ways that the opponents disrespect his Meteor Punch all the time. It never works the first time and yet Seiya keeps at it. You also see a lot more of his personality here as he trolls the judge specter who wanted everyone to keep it down. I haven’t seen Seiya like that since the pre arc.

He has a mischievous side to him after all but rarely gets to show this given that he is in nonstop fights all of the time. This arc actually have him a little time to slow down and have fun with this which was cool. Then there is Shun who still manages to lose all of the time but at least he gives Seiya a lot of moral support. His chains also do save him on more than one occasion so this is far from Shun’s worst appearance. I wish he could get some more clear cut wins but this OVA does throw him a bone so you can expect him to contribute.

Probably for the first time Shun actually does a lot more than Shiryu and Hyoga. I almost don’t need to mention them because these two get one shotted by one of the 3 Judges and then don’t do anything for the rest of the ova. Kanon hard carries them through this arc and they would have been dead many times otherwise. At this point it feels like the gap between them and Seiya is massive. Not so much in pure cosmos but in terms of drive as Seiya gets up while these two stay down. They will have to prove themselves in the next ova.

Ikki takes a while to appear but when he does show up it is certainly worth the wait. He comes in as if he is one of the most powerful Gold Saints. That’s the kind of ability he has and Ikki can really shake the whole battlefield to its core. He even has an expanded origin story that includes Pandora. It feels a bit out of the blue but makes for one of the more suspenseful flashbacks in the series. Ikki was really tough even as a kid.

Part of why Ikki is my favorite character in the series is due to his grand entrances and this one doesn’t disappoint either. He just seems to be a few steps ahead of the other Bronze Saints at all times and knew just when to show up. The villains get lucky that he is summoned away later on or the Specters would have kept taking some heavy hits. Additionally while Ikki is the tough member of the crew and makes the tough calls, he will always put Shun above everything else. Ultimately he makes the right decisions here and it’s a great moment.

The only Saint who deals out as much damage would be Kanon who steals the show as I mentioned earlier. He talks tough to all of the Specters including the 3 powerful Judges. He overpowers their techniques and is even able to fight without his armor. As someone who was not one of the original 12 Gold Saints, Kanon has to deal with not being given the same level of respect as the others and handled it well. It never feels like he will turn to the dark side again and has instead become one of Athena’s most reliable fighters. He has really come a long way here and while he may not do much more for the rest of the series, you can be really satisfied with his role. The guy beat up a whole army of Specters like it was nothing and the judges even have to tell them to leave Kanon alone.

Dohko is still around but he really doesn’t do as much as you would expect in this special. He provides some weapons which are useful during the climax which will have to do. All of the Gold Saints get one last hurrah here before leaving things to the bronze saints. Virgo Shaka’s is the most memorable though as the guy actually did well against Hades. I liked that he didn’t entertain the idea of stabbing Athena for an instant and just went straight for Hades. He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t like breaking the rules so it’s a powerful moment.

Honestly this is why I still really don’t like Athena’s plan. It just seems like an awful way to waste most of her own men. Shaka would have done a lot better if Athena wasn’t getting in his way. Her plan to effectively beg for mercy is awful. What’s to stop Hades from claiming he will save the world before murdering her? By the time Athena realizes the flaw in this plan it’s too late because she’s already stabbed. From the start I had major reservations about this plan and this ova did not help matters at all. If anything it just makes every traitor gold saint and Athena look even worse. I’ll probably go more into this after the final ova since we’ll see her complete plan but it’s not looking promising.

Now as for the villains, first up we have Charon who may just be the guy that drives the boat but don’t let that fool you into thinking that he is weak because that is far from the case. He can fight really well and even gives Seiya some trouble. If not for some cheap shots I think the fight would have been over quicker but I give Charon some credit for being a little honorable. That’s more than you can say for most Specters and I thought he was really entertaining.

Then you have Rene who is mostly memorable for all the scenes with Seiya trolling him. It really was one of the funniest episodes in the franchise. The guy’s abilities are good too with how he can toss you around dimensions and use that whip of his. It ties into one of Kanon’s better scenes but without the illusion he may have even beaten Seiya and Shun. Never underestimate the powers of a good illusion.

Pandora is a memorable villain with how much hype she gets. She really does have the specters on a short leash but it seems more like a respect thing than actual power. Unlike Lost Canvass where she can really fight, here she seems to be the ultimate glass cannon. If she can hit you with the harp then she has the edge but otherwise even a normal attack from a Bronze saint can take her down. She spends a good chunk of this special looking shocked or trying to land a sneak attack.

Pandora is a nice change of pace within the villains and I like her well enough but I do think the series could have done more with her as the counterpart to Athena. She is ruthless though and has a lot more agency so that’s still an improvement. In any continuity Pandora is always better than Athena. I doubt Athena would have stabbed the suspicious package the way Pandora did. The tactic may not have worked but it was worth a shot.

A fairly minor villain was Sphinx who did have a good ability to rend the opponents unconscious. If not for Lyra being around he would have been difficult to defeat. You may not remember him for long but Sphinx was reasonable. I had more issues with Lyra in the end. The guy has a tragic backstory but you mean to tell me that he never suspected that the whole thing may not have been an accident? Basically he and his girlfriend had to leave the underworld without looking back but sure enough she did by mistake and turned into stone. This was due to a random bright light.

Naturally it was one of the villains but really Lyra? No suspicions on that? I feel like he should have realized and made a move a lot sooner. His plan was actually not that bad but ultimately it just didn’t work the way he wanted it to. As a silver saint the guy is really impressive, I dare say that he would beat some of the Gold Saints in a battle.

The final one of the normal specters is Valentine who gave Seiya a really good fight. Now granted that Seiya was super weakened and in enemy territory but I think it’s still worth mentioning. You have to have great physical stats to even do that much and you can see why Valentine is such a trusted fighter in the army.

That takes us to the big 3 Judges. Of the 3, Minos hasn’t gotten to do a whole lot yet but his puppet techniques are really lethal. Even Gold Saints are unable to break through his strings. Aiacos has his burning techniques like the Garuda wing and then Rhadamanthys really feels like the strongest member of the 3. He’s also the best one as the guy gets real development and even a true rivalry with Kanon. I like the idea of having a big 3 among the Specters because it really builds up the hype well.

Aiacos has his own rivalry with Ikki and it was a solid fight with a lot of back and forth. Unlike most Specters these guys won’t go down to a single counter attack. As for Rhadamanthys, I liked that he just wanted a good fight and he takes great offense to Kanon saying that the Gold Saints would have wrecked him if their powers weren’t limited. It’s the whole reason he wants to fight Kanon and that’s always a great motivation for me. I was absolutely on board with this.

Finally we have Hades who is the big bad of this saga. He finally shows himself in the second half of the special. I would say it’s worth the wait but he’s not particularly memorable just yet. The guy speaks in a very grand fashion and has a divine aura that forces opponents to back off but we haven’t seen him fight yet. As a god in the series he doesn’t really need to I suppose but he better keep his guard up. I just wish Athena would look tough like this since theoretically she should be about as powerful as he is.

Hades has a great fake out involving a dream which was cool. Ultimately he may get lucky on more than one occasion but you don’t get to be King without having some good luck at times right? I look forward to seeing more of him in the next special. He may not match the 3 Judges but it’s always good to finally meet the big bad and see what his plan is. An eclipse is a fairly original way to cause death and destruction.

There are some meanwhile scenes back on Earth but I haven’t mentioned them much because they don’t really add anything. It’s nice to see that they’re still alive and all but trust me, they won’t be impacting the story in any real way. They’re mainly just here to remind you that they’re around. The best scene on Earth is really the flashbacks with Ikki and Pandora. Those scenes are almost like something out of a horror with how dark the city was that night and how creepy Pandora can be. Ikki having to deal with such painful attacks as a kid is still something else, that kid had grit!

As mentioned earlier, the animation is much better here than last time. We finally have a lot of really good hand to hand battles like the old days and good movement with the energy blasts. It feels like the TV show has come back for real and that definitely feels good. The attacks look solid and the characters’ desperation is really illustrated well. Saint Seiya is a series that really relies on characters giving each other a lot of motivation and pep talks and so you can expect them here as well. They’re handled very effectively.

As for the soundtrack, it’s mostly a lot of classic tunes so they should sound familiar. The opening though really stands out. It’s incredibly high energy and works really well. In general this ova has a lot of energy and helps excel the series. When I say that this ova is near perfect it’s because it shines in all aspects. The Hades are really was quite excellent. Part of what makes it so great is again because it isn’t purely about the Bronze Saints this time. You’ve got the Gold Saints making moves, Athena, Hades, even the Specters get their own development and character moments. It makes this feel like a really complete adventure.

Overall, This will definitely leave you hyped for the third ova to conclude the Saint Seiya saga. I’m ready to see how exciting that one will be. You should probably watch the first ova to really get what is happening here. It won’t make Athena’s decisions look any better but at least you’ll have the context. The ending to this ova is quite striking, Athena’s last scene in particular may take you by surprise. Things aren’t looking great for the heroes but as long as they keep trying there’s always a chance. This ova is just a blast.

Overall 9/10

Saint Seiya Review


Saint Seiya is one of the all time greats. When you hear the name “Saint Seiya” you can’t help but freeze and look around. That’s how big this title is. It’s effectively like an old school DBZ and is probably one of the older manga titles that I’ve completed. In some ways you can feel the age like with how the arcs tend to have very repetitive events going on like the classic JLA comics, but the battles are always hype. Even if you can see how things are going to go, the execution is so amazing that you have to tip your cap to this one. Saint Seiya is a masterpiece that will not be forgotten.

The series starts off by introducing us to Seiya. He grew up with a lot of orphans who were being raised by Saori’s estate in order to become powerful warriors. He heads off to gain one of the legendary cloths of Athena but then his sister goes missing. Seiya continues to search for her but is unable to turn up any leads. Saori’s father makes him a deal, if he is able to win the upcoming tournament and establish himself as the greatest Bronze Saint, then he will use the family resources to find her. Seiya will have to deal with some very powerful opponents in order to achieve his end of the bargain but this is highly personal so he is going to give it his all.

This arc was fairly small to the point where I hesitate to call it a full arc. Maybe saying it’s the pre arc would be more accurate. Either way it’s a good way to kick things off as we get a nice little tournament and meet most of the characters who will ultimately stay with the main cast. Unfortunately Unicorn is one of the few characters who doesn’t stick around. I liked his little rivalry with Seiya at the beginning but it is true that Seiya far outranked him even after just a volume or two. Unicorn is at the proper level of a Bronze Saint while Seiya goes beyond that with ease.

The battles are all cool and this is really the only time you will be seeing other Bronze saints doing anything so that’s a novelty in itself. The battle between Seiya and Shiryu is really the highlight of the arc as Shiryu definitely started out with the highest base stats aside from Ikki. Seiya’s the underdog in the fight although he is the main character so you could make the case that this evens things up really quickly.

Then we have the big arc that made the series famous. So in the background there have been some shady dealings with the Pope. Well, he’s taken it a step further as Athena has been kidnapped and stabbed with a sacred arrow. Seiya and his new friends Shiryu, Andromeda, Hyoga, and a reluctant Ikki must invade Sanctuary in order to save her. To do this, they will have to get past the 12 Gold Saints, powerful warriors of legend. These guys are known to be unbeatable and protect Athena from any manner of opponent. So you might be wondering, why are these chumps not saving her themselves?

Well, to be a gold saint you must throw your logic out the window. You no longer use critical thinking but simply do as you’re told and listen to whoever calls himself the Pope. You also have a Gold Saint who is downright evil and one who doesn’t care about Athena. When you mix this all together, you’ve got a group that will not be lifting a finger to help Athena. Two Saints who even know about the situation refuse to help because they’re just too old or aren’t active anymore. That’s just great……good thing Seiya is here on the job.

Since there are 5 Bronze Saints and 12 Gold Saints to be defeated, you can see how there are a ton of battles in this arc. None of the Gold Saints will go down easy after all and the heroes often have to split up. There is a 12 hour time limit too so the heroes can’t afford to slow down either. Going full speed is absolutely the way to go here. If Athena (Who is Saori’s alter ego) is destroyed, then Seiya may never get to see his sister again.

It’s easy to see why this is know as the best arc although I’m really tempted to say that the Hades arc may be the best since it has my favorite moment in the series. It’s really tough to decide either way and it’s one of those things I’ll probably flip flop on a few times as the years go on but for now I will say that the Sanctuary arc is the best. The battles are pretty much nonstop and it’s great to see everyone getting a battle. It is a shame that the Gold Saints only tend to show up as antagonists the whole time but it’s what happens when you let honor dictate your every move.

Saint Seiya is a series that is heavily rooted in honor and always making sure you do the right thing as the group would recommend as opposed to striking off on your own. It’s why none of the Gold Saints are ever able to do anything since they are just content to watch. It’s why the Bronze Saints are causing such an uproar but it’s a good thing that they stepped up when needed. It’s a very satisfying arc and sets the stage well for the next one.

Following up on that arc was the Poseidon adventures. King Poseidon has finally reincarnated and he intends to bring the entire world under water. Athena asks him to stop the madness but forgot to bring her guards so she is locked up in a room where she will drown. She can only hold out as long as she can pray so now the Bronze Saints have to break into Atlantis and take care of business. Can they defeat all of the Mariners and Poseidon before the world is destroyed?

Saint Seiya is not a manga that minds having some casualties. Right in the beginning of the arc we see that a large portion of the world has already been destroyed. So even if the heroes do end up winning in the end, a lot of damage has been done. It’s quite the sobering thought but it definitely appears to be the case. It follows a very similar structure as the Sanctuary arc only instead of passing through each temple, the heroes have to destroy a series of pillars before the 12 hours are up and each one is guarded by a Mariner which is the equivalent of a Gold Saint. (Or so they say, but I feel like the Gold Saints would crush them)

It’s another great arc but my main gripe here is that there is literally no reason why the Gold Saints can’t come and assist. Their entire reason for existence is to protect Athena. This is mentioned numerous times in the series and yet when she is in danger they refuse to leave Sanctuary because they have to guard the temples. Really? What’s the point of the temples if your goddess is about to be murdered and the Earth destroyed? You definitely have to shake your head at the logic going on. As always, you can only root for the Bronze Saints. With nonstop fights and new characters, there is definitely no reason to dislike the arc.

Finally, that takes us to the big Hades arc. Every 250 years there is a holy war between Hades and Athena. He tries to take over the world while her knights stand in defiance of him. Well, this time things are a bit different. His forces have awoken a few years early and are immediately trying to take down her castle. The Gold Saints must try to protect her for 12 hours or all will be lost. Additionally, they refuse to have the help of the bronze saints and even say they will murder those guys if they try to help. Looks like Seiya and pals might need to try taking down both Hades’ forces as well as the gold saints.

I liked this arc for a lot of reasons. Of course you have the obvious ones like the nonstop fights and hype characters, but it’s also the first arc to really switch things up. This time you don’t have the usual battle format with the Bronze Saints doing all the work. In fact, they miss out on a good chunk of the intro as the Gold Saints actually get to do battle as heroes for the first time in the series. It’s quite extraordinary to actually see them in combat. They may get folded in quite a few of the fights as always but they get a good amount of hype.

The arc even has different sections to it so you get a lot of background changes and even story changes. The plot goes in various directions and always keeps you guessing. By the end of it you really have to give the series a thumbs up for ending on a really high note. It’s a series that ends really suddenly too so get ready for that but it’s a pretty satisfying ending and you can choose how it all went down. Naturally I think a certain someone lived and everyone just goes back home after the credits roll but there’s a few ways you can take it.

The art is very solid. It’s got a simple style like DBZ but you feel the impact behind each blow. These are absolute titans who are facing each other and the manga does a good job of illustrating that. While you may find it hard to believe they are throwing hundreds of millions of blows in a second as they say in the text, you can see how they are all moving very rapidly. You’ll never be lost during a fight and I really like how the artist draws the armors. It flows very well with the battle scenes.

As more of an old school title, prepare to see the heroes not taking any prisoners this time around. Most of the villains they face are promptly destroyed when they show up. It probably would be hard to hold most of these guys in a jail since they’re casual planet busters as well. The series can also get a bit violent with how badly each character is wounded. The Saints always take an incredible beating before they are able to get back up. One character even has his ear ripped off.

Saint Seiya also introduced the idea of never getting hit by the same attack twice. In fact, it’s mentioned in almost every battle as the Saint brags that the same move won’t work on him twice. In 99% of those instances the character is right and ends up blocking the move. This doesn’t apply to the main Saints when they are attacking though as Seiya spams the Pegasus Meteor Fist a lot and it always works eventually. He just has to use it enough times to get through the enemy defenses since it never works the first time.

The series also has basically no fanservice at all which is always worth noting. It just seems fairly rare for that to be the case and while you can certainly name some off the bat, on average you would usually expect some. This was definitely a good thing and another feather in its cap. It really makes this a series that is easy to recommend to anyone due to how inviting it is. It’s down to business as a great action title and really delivers on that front.

If anything, I just wish that it could have gone on longer so we could have had Athena actually fight. She’s a goddess and so you would expect her to be on the same level as Poseidon and Hades. Yet, those two have insane amounts of power while she seems to not even be strong enough to stop a Silver Saint. She never gets to do anything beyond the occasional block and it doesn’t really make sense. It seems to always be the case that the heroic goddess is weaker than the evil ones but it would have been nice if she could have at least been in the same league as the others.

Athena even gives direct orders to Gold Saints that they just ignore at times. You wouldn’t catch anyone talking back to Poseidon or Hades unless they wanted to be turned into fish fillet. That’s why she needed more power so that she could strike down these guys. I also find it odd that there is a complete villain among the Gold Saints who murders women and children for sport. Shiryu promptly murders him but how did anyone at Sanctuary allow this to be the case? Surely Aiolia, one of the only good Gold Saints around would have done anything. Presumably the other Gold Saints would have covered for the guy or Aiolia felt bound by the law but it’s still annoying to see a villain get high in the ranks like that.

All right, lets take a look at the various characters here. First up is Seiya of course since he’s the main character. He’s a very classic kind of main character who always stands up for what’s right and has a lot of determination. Initially he’s even got a bit of a punk attitude about him like when he’s picking fights with Unicorn but he matures really fast. Undergoing constant life or death battles will definitely do that to a person.

Seiya continually shatters expectations and is always the last fighter to go down so it’s impossible not to like the guy. He’s definitely a blast to root and if the Gold Saints would provide him even the slightest bit of support he probably could have ended the series a bit early.

Then you have Ikki who is the best character in the series. He’s an old school rival who started out as a villain but eventually realizes that this isn’t the right way to go about it. It’s hard to blame him at first though since Saori’s father was incredibly corrupt. Sending little kids to places like Death Island is incredibly traumatic and by all accounts Ikki shouldn’t have survived that experience. He managed to stay alive though and even thrived but he had to put up with a whole lot. As an ally, he’s the best ally you could ask for though.

Ikki really takes down some incredibly powerful opponents during the series. His fight with Virgo Shaka is definitely still one of the more memorable fights. That guy was incredibly broken and yet Ikki could fight him blow for blow. The fact that Ikki can continue to revive even after being destroyed also makes him incredibly difficult to fight since Ikki also gets stronger with each revival.

As for Hyoga, he’s got a tough disposition like Ikki but never actually went down the evil route. His ice abilities are solid and he has a tragic backstory as well with his Mom getting encased in ice. The Gold Saints were also petty enough to throw her to the bottom of the ocean which was definitely a low blow. Hyoga’s another solid companion to have around and I like his confident demeanor.

Then you have Andromeda who is often known to get the short end of the stick. I can’t deny that as he tends to lose a lot of fights and has a habit of getting saved by Ikki. There’s no shame in getting saved by the best in the biz of course but it happens enough times where it overshadows his own achievements. Andromeda’s Nebula Chains should be one of the strongest weapons in the series and yet it always fails. These chains can stretch across universes and dimensions and are said to be unbreakable.

The problem is that several characters break them. The chains can also sense danger and activate on their own but even with that the enemies are able to trick the chains and speed blitz Andromeda. Maybe he would have been better off without the chains if this was how it was all going to go down.

As a side note, several characters seem to get stronger after taking off their Cloths. Logically this shouldn’t make sense since the armor is what protects them from universe ending lows. It increases your defense but shouldn’t lower your offense. Still, Andromeda and Shiryu often take off their cloths to fight with no protection and that’s when they end up coming out on top. The feeling of danger excites their cosmos as they burn their way to the top. In this series your power level is highly dependent on your feelings at the moment yet it does still feel odd whenever they toss away one of their big advantages.

Next up is Shiryu who patented that technique. It seems like he would take off the armor constantly and he suffered the same issue as Andromeda with his weapon not doing so well. Shiryu’s arm always served him well but his shield would often get overpowered even though it is said to be unbreakable. It’s fortunate that Shiryu is such a powerful fighter that he doesn’t need to rely on it.

Shiryu may be a bit more of a stickler for the rules than some of the other Saints but unlike the Golds he does still step up when needed. He also may have the best durability as he gets the most punishment in each battle but always stands back up. He has a particularly impressive moment near the end of the series when he takes on 3 high ranking spectres at once. That has to be one of his best scenes.

I already talked about Athena a bit. She’s an okay character for the most part but really starts to drop off as the series goes on. In Arc 1 you can’t blame her since she hadn’t fully realized her position yet. In the Poseidon arc she definitely should have ordered some Gold Saints to help her out or had more of a plan than simply drowning. Then in the Hades arc she should never have allowed the enemies to murder her or ordered that the Bronze Saints stay home. Her long string of questionable decisions definitely ended up hurting her character in the end.

As for Poseidon, I wasn’t a big fan of his human form. He’s pretty much just a rich flirt which is not what I expect to see when I hear the word “Poseidon”. Still, as a fighter he can hold his own. He has a cool design and it’s always fun to meet one of the big bosses. He may not be the most impactful villain but he serves his role well.

Then there is Hades who is a lot more interesting. Between the fact that he has to effectively body hop each time and that he is always the same Hades across all the timelines is interesting. It makes him a very layered character in comparison to most. I would argue he is probably not the best strategist since I feel like he should easily win the war due to all the advantages that the Underworld has like infinite regeneration. If he had attacked with everyone right off the bat instead of allowing the others to seal this ability, things could have gone really well for his army. He makes for a solid end boss either way.

Pandora was a fun character. She got a lot of hype in her opening appearance even if she didn’t do a whole lot after that. Her ability to inflict any of Hades’ minions with absolute pain when she plays the harp was a cool trick. I would have liked to have seen a little more of her in action but having an Athena type figure who could actually fight was nice in and of itself.

Rhadymanthys is one of the more memorable fighters in the Hades arc. As one of the 3 Judges, his power is so considerable that he believed he could stop multiple Gold Saints on his own. He did accomplish that fact but it was in Hades’ castle so you have to question if the Gold Saints were at full power. Lost Canvas states that Hades Castle limits the power of all Athena’s saints. Now that series isn’t fully canon but I do like all of the lore it introduced so I like to include it as head canon.

If not, then we do have to acknowledge this guy as easily one of the strongest characters in the franchise which is probably true either way. This guy was cool and definitely very memorable. Then we have Hypnos who is one of the gods that works for Hades. The fact that he is a god would suggest that he is supremely powerful and that is true. Both Hypnos and Thanatos have very impressive stats and one of the better fights at the end of the series. They’re quite solid as well and it’s always nice having “High above” characters who can actually fight as opposed to just talking a good game throughout. Power over dreams and power over reality are both very tough things to overcome.

Aiolos is my favorite Gold Saint but unfortunately he dies prior to the start of the series. We only know him through a brief flashback when he saved Athena and his character is fleshed out further in spinoffs. The guy was a masterful fighter and the only saint to have as much potential as Saga. It’s a shame that he could not appear more but he stole every page that he was in.

Then we have Gemini Saga who is a very interesting character. Naturally he does have a massive role in the Sanctuary arc where he fights Seiya and friends and then he also gets a big role in the Hades arc. In both arcs I thought he was on the wrong side. He’s certainly a powerful adversary though. In a lot of ways he reminds me of Anakin Skywalker in that he was the chosen one who was meant to be the strongest saint of all but then he succumbed to the dark side. It’s a shame that he just could’t stay strong and in the light but power tends to corrupt way too quickly for that.

His Galactian Explosion is really an incredible attack and one of the most memorable techniques in the series. It’s easy to see why the characters fear him so much. He’s got to be the best villlain in the series but if you count him as a hero then he’d have to be somewhere in the Top 5. Either way he leaves quite the impact and feels a lot more prepared than most of the other Saints.

Aiolia is not to be confused with Aiolos but he is certainly following in that guy’s footsteps. Not only does he have similar powers but he also has a much stronger sense of justice than most of the Gold Saints. The only way he helps the Pope is when he is mind controlled and otherwise he wasn’t being suckered like the others. I just wish he would push aside the people stopping him when he wants to help Seiya on several occasions. They certainly could have used the help.

Taurus is the first Gold Saint that you have to pass in order to get to Athena’s chamber so you can see him as the weakest one but often times the series gives him a lot of hype. He’s an honorable man who likes a fair fight. It would be nice if he had more fighting moves than his shoulder tackle though as that one seems very limited. I like him, but never found Taurus to be nearly as powerful as everyone claims.

Virgo Shaka has the title of “The Man Closest to God” so as you can imagine he is extremely powerful. He is one of the only Saints to unlock the mythical 8th sense and consistently proves himself to be very powerful. His ability to remove your 5 senses is also cool. That said, since he knows immediately what is going on during the Sanctuary arc, it’s hard to call him a hero. He willingly stood against Athena unlike some of the others who could claim to be tricked. That is really hard to ignore.

He has a great final fight in the series but he’s not really someone you can trust. In a sense perhaps he just knows too much and that prevents him from acting. I do like him quite a bit but more as an antagonist than me accepting him as a hero. If you want to talk about someone who prefers inaction, Roshi is your best bet. The guy just stands in front of a waterfall for almost the entire series.

His only job in life is to let people know when the seal has broken and he is so slow to react that the main ivnasion happens before he can arrive. I didn’t care for him much at all during the series but he finally looks good when he transforms into his true form, Dohko. In that form he actually has a decent fight even if he ends up watching from there. He certainly does almost nothing considering that the guy has a lot of screen time. Theoretically he is one of the strongest Gold Saints but it’s really hard to say that with any confidence since he didn’t fight much.

Going away from the Gold Saints for a moment, Cassios is one of the original Bronze Saints who fights Seiya. I was not really a fan of him but he does have a bit of a redemption arc as he appears in the background as a hero. It just goes to show that even the minor characters could improve a bit but as the first guy to get crushed by Seiya, he never ends up being a true big shot.

Then you have Seika, Seiya’s sister. Throughout the series they hint that she may be Marin or that she really is missing. It’s a plot point that the series teases every now and again but doesn’t really get much of a satisfying ending. The way it concludes is definitely unexpected since I thought the series was going in a different direction but I thought the whole handling of the sub plot was a bit sloppy. It almost didn’t need to be around if this was how it was going to end up. I’m sure she’s a decent character but she doesn’t really get to do anything.

Next is Marin who is one of the Silver Saints. Due to some really outdated customs among the Saints, all female Saints are Silver level and they are not allowed to take off their mask except in front of their true love. If someone else sees them, then they must dedicate their lives to murdering that guy. It reminds you why Sanctuary isn’t as happy a place as it may sound at first.

Marin is a very tough character so none of this bothers her all that much. She has a decent supporting role and even gets a few fights on occasion. She isn’t very powerful but as a lot of the Saints have a tough time hitting a girl, it does help even the playing field a bit. Then you have Shaina who is effectively a much meaner version of Marin. I actually preferred Shaina though as she would also see reason a lot quicker and really did contribute to the team on multiple occasions. Shaina was quick to fight and that won her a lot of points in my book.

Back to the Gold Saints, we have Mu who effectively retired from the business. He spends his life recreating armors and fixing things up. He acts like a scholar but he still has the power of a Gold Saint. My main issue with him is that he looks absolutely dreadful in the Hades arc. You could also say he looks bad in Sanctuary since he doesn’t lift a finger to help. It would have been nice if he could have done something more aside from just watching in the Bleachers.

He openly gets in the way of the heroes and that has to be the worst part. By the end he was easily one of my least favorite Saints. Then there is Shion who is also in the running as one of the worst ones. First he allows himself to easily be defeated by Saga and then he joins Hades. Yes, he has a convoluted plan on why this is for the best but I never bought it. It just resulted in more dead soldiers and even then he leaves most of the work to his subordinates so he doesn’t actually do a whole lot on his own. So much for being the Pope and having a ton of power right? In the end he would falter every time.

Gemini Kanon is a character I liked quite a lot though. He starts out as a random Mariner but he actually has some strong ambitions just like Saga. He has similar abilities which makes sense since they’re family and goes from being an interesting villain to a very complex character overall. Needless to say, he’s not someone that you want to mess with as a hero or a villain. He has to go through a lot for the Saints to trust him but ultimately he does earn their trust.

Deathmask is really the Saint to watch out for. He’s pure evil as the manga goes out of its way to say that he would target a lot of women and children. Again, how is this guy allowed in Sanctuary? Well, Shiryu showed him what was up and he’s really the only Saint who they didn’t even try to redeem. He was dispatched and never looked back. He had some interesting abilities and made for a decent, psychotic villain. You won’t soon forget him.

Next up is Milo whose little stingers can be quite troublesome. If he lands 12 hits on you then it’s game over. I always liked that kind of technique since it is really hard to counter and means you have to fight very carefully. It’s also possible to die before the final blow due to how strong his moves are. He may not be one of the best Saints but his abilities are unique which makes him stand out.

Shura is another Saint who is very unreasonable while declaring himself to be absolute justice. You’d think that guys like him would listen a bit more since they want to protect Athena so much but he’s not willing to learn which is his downfall. I like his Excalibur swing though as his arm is as powerful as a sword. It’s a good way to hype up his battle with Shiryu since they have a lot of similarities.

The final Gold Saint is Aphrodite who is obsessed with his appearance. It’s fitting for his name sake but it doesn’t help make him a very interesting character either. Clearly he has his priorities mixed up and it’s no wonder that he’s not stronger. He could have used all that time to train instead.

Thetis was Poseidon’s right hand woman. She had decent abilities and performed well in her fight with Shaina. She may not have lasted very long but Thetis was a loyal soldier to the end and definitely had Poseidon’s back at all times. Then you have Baian who was one of Poseidon’s pillars. He had a lot of confidence and I liked his water abilities. He could really send you far in a fight and had a lot of confidence in his techniques.

Io is one of those characters who would do better if he wasn’t obsessed with using all of his attacks. Remember that an attack doesn’t work twice on a Saint so you want to be careful about using them all at once since the Saint will remember them now. I felt like he had the edge on Andromeda throughout but threw away his advantage by doing this.

Krishna’s a fun member of the group who is extremely confident in his own weapons being more powerful than Shiryu’s. He may have ultimately been defeated but he put up a good fight and his weapons were quite powerful. It’s just hard to match up to the Saints. Caca is more of a mental guy who fights the Saints with illusions and transformations.

He actually ended up doing a lot better than I would have expected but Ikki put an end to that. One weakness most of the Saints have does seem to be in their emotions. They don’t conceal them as much as they try to make you believe. Even Ikki has a weakness to that but he was able to power through. Caca isn’t nearly as likable as the other Pillars though as they still tried fighting with honor to the end.

Isaac really comes out of nowhere but he has a whole sob story about actually trying to be a Saint back in the day. It didn’t go well for him and he wrongly blames Hyoga. The guy felt a bit whiny to me although I liked him in the flashback. He just ended up being a far cry from his old self as the bitterness took him over. I guess that’s what happens when you go on the path of darkness.

Sorrento gets a bigger role than most of Poseidon’s men. He has some nice musical abilities which are always hard to counter and even has some suspicions about the treachery going on in the area. That said, he is extremely slow to act so maybe it doesn’t even matter that he knew something was going on. I liked him though, it’s always nice to see a villain who’s quite loyal even if unfortunately he chose the wrong side.

Minos is another one of the Judges and has a solid amount of power but doesn’t look quite as impressive as Rhadymanthys. Ultimately his arrogance is his undoing as is the case with so many other villains in the series. It’s a common theme to the point where I would even call it a moral. Underestimating your opponent will always lead to doom and destruction.

Charon has a big role as the guy who operates the ferry. I have to give him some props as he even gives Seiya a run for his money. It’s a cushy job for him since he has home field advantage and is powerful in his own right. The guy was amusing even if he was ultimately doomed in the end. He just felt like a guy who was doing his own thing. He may have served Hades but he wasn’t super loyal about it, he just also wanted his money.

Pharaoh is another villain who uses a musical instrument and once again it is shown as being incredibly difficult to counter. I suppose it’s because music pierces right through any obstacles in front of it. Regardless, he really had his way with the Saints for a while before going out and even had a bit of a tragic past. Mainly it was amplified by this guy getting jealous quick but he made for an interesting villain.

Gigant is one of the first true Spectres that we meet in the series but he is effortlessly beaten by Shaka. It further reinforces why I think the Saints are stronger than the Spectres on average. This guy was supposed to be reasonably strong but couldn’t even last for an instant. You have to admire his confidence but ultimately it was completely empty and unjustified.

Papillon is an interesting Spectre because he isn’t even humanoid anymore. The guy’s like a big pile of Jello that can transform at will. It makes him a dangerous villain since he also has psychic powers but I just couldn’t take him seriously. It was nice to have some variety in the ranks though. He stands out more than Niobe for that reason. Niobe has the famous moment where he loses to an attack but is still able to fight for an extremely long time after that before it sinks in. It’s almost like Toon Force except it is handled extremely seriously. There is no comedy to be found here.

Raimi is another Spectre who overestimated his abilities and paid the price for it. He’s only good when in a pack but one on one it was easy for Aiolia to defeat him. At least he could fight more than Zelos who loves mocking people but can’t fight for beans. He loses almost as an after thought in the series. I like to think even Unicorn could beat him but maybe that’s going too far.

Yeah Saint Seiya is definitely a series you don’t forget. There are many more fighters in the series, particularly the Hades arc which had 108 Spectres running around but a bunch of them are shortly dispatched after saying their name. You had 3 Spectres for example who ganged up on Shiryu but still ended up being clobbered in the end. Hades prefers quantity over quality which isn’t a bad bet in his circumstances. It just wasn’t enough.

Overall, Saint Seiya is definitely a masterful title and I would consider it an elite among manga. There’s just so much that happens and the series never takes a break. When 1 arc ends, the next one begins almost immediately. You’ll even feel bad for the characters as it feels like every other day they’re being beaten half to death and then have to regroup for the next fight. Athena definitely gets kidnapped a lot that’s for sure. If you like quality action then you’ll love this series because it really never rests. This isn’t the end for Saint Seiya reviews though so you can expect more soon. This review just took a while because the series is so long so there were a lot of characters to get through.

Overall 9/10

Saint Seiya: Hades: Chapter Sanctuary Review


It’s time to take a look at the first Seiya OVA. I debated back and forth about how to style the title since there seem to be a ton of ways to put it out there, but I figured modeling it more after how the recent Transformer trilogy went down made sense. I’d keep the Hades chapter structure and then add the sub title after that. It makes for a busy title but works well enough.

The story starts with a lot of dead Saints reviving. It turns out that the time for the next Holy War has commenced. Usually it is every 250 years but for some reason it has started early. A mysterious man appears along with two Gold Saints and tells Mu that he needs to murder Athena. Mu doesn’t want to obey but this man is hard to deny. Seiya showed up to help but Mu doesn’t want any of that so he beats the hero up and sends him off. Now Mu will have to try and defeat multiple opponents on his own.

On a grander scale, the heroes have to try and protect Athena for 12 hours. If they can do that, then the danger will be passed. The issue is that this will be quite difficult since Hades is not only sending his loyal spectres but also several traitors from Athena’s own squad. Seiya and friends murdered a great deal of her followers back in the day and it looks like they want revenge. Looks like Seiya and friends will need to help out one last time. Although if the heroes continue to get in their way, Seiya may have to take them down first.

Right off the bat you can tell that although the OVA is newer than the show, the animation went downhill. For almost half of the OVA, there is virtually no animation. Characters barely move during the fights and it’s all very disjointed. I was puzzled because you’d expect everything to just look really amazing in an OVA. I mean, that’s not always the case but that’s still how you go in.

That said, I thought the director did a good job of making the most with what he had. Since the animation wasn’t up to snuff, we had some solid CGI cuts. Now, the CGI does look obvious but it’s styled as a very fancy thing. We often get CGI visuals when the characters are preparing to walk up some stairs or go to the next temple. The show cuts away to Athena’s statue numerous times as well. So while this may not be considered top tier animation or anything, the CGI is used in a way to make you feel just how grand this whole thing is. It’s like you’re stepping into a battle of the gods here.

So if we did have top tier animation it would be even better but at least this way you don’t feel bad. Also, the last few episodes actually do give us some solid cuts and fights so things do pickup. The whole OVA has a fairly sinister feeling of dread since it feels like the heroes can’t possibly win. Everyone is turning traitor and the heroes that do remain are all pretty stuck up so it’s hard to assist them even if you wanted to.

Saint Seiya has always made a big deal about honor and true friendship. Like in the original series when Hyoga is beaten near to death and Ikki doesn’t even look back to help Hyoga as he declares that he will conquer the next enemy. Hyoga then explains to the other characters that this was the correct decision since it allowed him to keep his honor. It’s not a system I agree with but they are big on pride.

Unfortunately that comes back to bite the Gold Saints a lot. Take Mu for example, he’s easily the worst character in this OVA. He has great respect for his mentor and so he must obey the guy even if it means doing something that will put Sanctuary in danger. By the time he does actually start standing up for himself, he’s already badly beaten. Beating up on Seiya was also the wrong move since the guy was here to help. Not only did it seem like Seiya was holding his own against one of the villains but he probably would have won.

By this point in the series Seiya is incredibly strong so the whole scene made no sense at all. Throughout the OVA Mu continues to make the wrong decisions. He always either sides with the villains or holds the other heroes back. It was the same thing in the original series, just not to the same effect. So any respect I had left for the character definitely vanished in this one. His crystal wall technique is still good but ultimately can’t stop the villains anymore. He needed Seiya and just didn’t want to admit it.

You can’t help but think that the arc would have been over a lot quicker if either the traitors had stayed on Athena’s side or the heroes had accepted the help of the Bronze Saints. That would have really changed a whole lot, that’s for sure. Now, there is a lot to be said that the destiny of the dead Saints is a bleak one so you can see how they would change sides, but it’s still disappointing in the end.

The soundtrack is pretty nostalgic. You’ve got some of the classic tunes from the main series as well as some new ones. The opening song is very emotional which is odd for the series. You’d expect something a lot more action packed but it does work with how this OVA is being so dramatic though. It’s a sad song I guess since everyone’s dying and there isn’t really a way to win in this Holy War. Since it’s a cycle that happens every 250 years, deep down everyone probably sees how it feels a bit futile the whole time. I prefer the classic theme song, but this one did grow on me as I heard it more.

The Bronze Saints don’t get a whole lot to do, but it’s nice to see them. Ikki in particular only gets a scene or two and yet he does steal the show in those moments. He seems to at least know a bit of what’s going on and has plans of his own. It’ll definitely be a blast to see him jump into the fray. The rest of the team eventually get to match up against Rhadymanthis. He’s not exactly an easy opponent to defeat but they still put up a good fight. This season’s more about getting them prepared for what is to come.

Seiya gets the biggest role as expected though. When the other Saints begin to give up, he’s still fighting as hard as he ever did. Nobody’s keeping him down and his Pegasus punch always gets stronger with each use. I also liked how he went to Sanctuary immediately when Athena told him to stay away. She historically has pretty bad judgement and sure enough, this was the right move. If not for being backstabbed, Seiya was really starting to cook there.

As for Athena, she does have to share in some of the blame. Mainly I said Mu did everything wrong, but she is not without fault since she also put in the order to keep the Bronze Saints out. That was just such a bad move. Did she forget how they already beat all of the Gold Saints back in Arc 1? If there is anyone you want to have by your side here, it would definitely be them. I also heavily disagreed with Athena’s final act in the OVA. It’s never good to just give him and stab yourself. I’m sure we’ll see more of her plan soon but I was definitely not impressed.

Virgo Shaka looks pretty good here. He’s always been known as one of the most powerful saints and may even be the strongest depending on where you put Gemini Saga. He has unlocked the deeper senses that most Saints struggle with and the fact that he is taking on 3 Gold Saints combined in this OVA is incredibly impressive. It’s got to be the best fight here and Shaka really shows them a thing or two. It would have been nice if he was just a second quicker on the draw but ultimately his effort was second to none. It also seems like he may not be done yet.

Tauros gets some hype as well but it’s a lot emptier to me. Lets just say that his fight involves the most delayed counter I have ever seen. Usually when someone gets sliced a minute after someone slashed I’m already calling foul. This one is several magnitudes greater than that so you already know what I’m thinking. That just doesn’t work but at least he got some dignity as a result.

Scorpio Miro gets a role here too but the guy is also doing a lot of in-fighting. One thing about the Gold Saints is they love picking on fellow heroes. Perhaps the villains just aren’t strong enough to be worth their time? Whatever the reason is, Miro spends a good amount of time beating up on someone who won’t even fight back which will make you shake your head. The guy talks tough but there was just no reason for that. Athena also isn’t able to command enough respect among her subordinates in order to put a stop to this either which is unfortunate.

Finally, we can’t forget about Aiolia. That guy is easily the best Gold Saint here. He acts quickly and without hesitation. One of the best moments in the entire OVA is when he shoves Mu out of the way and speed blitzes all 3 of the traitor saints. They couldn’t even see him coming as Aiolia just pounds them into the dirt. It was amazing and that’s the kind of response you would expect when someone just murdered one of your friends. Aiolia is a credit to the gold saints that’s for sure.

As for the villains, well Hades does not actually appear yet so don’t expect to see him. Instead, Pandora is acting as the leader of the villains. She’s also pretty tough here as just playing her harp is enough to bring one of the 3 judges to his knees. It’s hard to say how powerful this Pandora is without her weapon but at least she is confident enough to talk tough to the heroes and villains so we can assume she is fairly high up there.

Interestingly though, Hades army itself doesn’t really do a lot of the heavy lifting. The 3 traitor knights handle most of Athena’s men. It’s heavily implied that the Gold Saints would have wrecked all of the spectres with ease. Only the Judges or Celestial Stars would have been able to do much. One of them volunteers to go and fight but Pandora says it is not part of the plan.

That’s all well and good but take away the traitors and I have to say that Hades is at an absolute disadvantage. In fact, if not for Seiya and friends murdering about half of them, this could have been a landslide win for Athena’s group. So far at least, Hades army just isn’t nearly as impressive as you would expect. The only powerful member we have met thus far is Rhadymanthis who to his credit is very powerful.

He was able to take on multiple gold saints at once but granted, this was at their castle. This series hasn’t said anything yet but usually the castle heavily decreases a Gold Saint’s abilities so we can’t say for certain if he could have done that in a level playing field. Perhaps since he is so high ranked but then again, Aiolia is definitely no pushover.

As for the evil saints, Gemini Saga carries the team quite a bit. Not only is he the one with the big plans the whole time but he’s also shown to easily be the strongest. It’s not surprising since he has always been a whole lot more impressive than most. I don’t think any Saint aside from Shaka would be able to stop him. So here when the other two saints are getting rocked, Saga is always able to get up and keep fighting. He seems to have far more drive and determination than the other two, not to mention that he can see through the tricks as well. Twice, fighters try to use illusions and the other two fall for it while Saga is able to break the spell.

It’s just a shame that he’s on the wrong side. It does lead to a fun confrontation with Kanon who used to be evil as well. The sides have been reversed now with Kanon serving Athena loyally while Saga is trying to murder her. The irony in this is certainly not lost. This is Kanon’s best appearance to be sure and it’s really when I started to be a big fan of the guy. This is really a good redemption story and when you see him, it’s a pretty great reveal. That’s why he didn’t deserve to be beaten up so much by Miro.

As for Camus, he’s another one of the 3 big Saints but the guy doesn’t do a whole lot. Same with the owner of Excalibur. They’re mainly there as backup for Saga but they don’t tend to do a whole lot. I didn’t realize the gap between Gold Saints could be so large but evidently the Saints are not nearly as close in power as I would have assumed.

We also get to see Roshi finally fight in his true form as the Saint known as Dohko. He battles the previous Pope known as Shion. It’s cool to see them after checking out the Lost Canvass since they were such good friends there. Shion has certainly fallen since then in order to help the Dark Saints out. Granted, personalities tend to shift a bit with such a big franchise and it’s hard to see the old Shion acting that way, but I would have said the same for Camus and Saga. Their plan better be amazing to be worth murdering so many people everywhere.

I was never a big fan of Roshi so seeing him actually fight is cool. It at least gives him a purpose to watching the waterfall for so long even if he was not quick enough to actually warn anyone of what was coming. The entire point of his staying there was to let Athena know that something was coming so what was this guy doing? The whole task seemed a bit pointless in that respect.

This OVA includes one of my favorite moments in the franchise which is the Double Athema Exclamation. I remember reading that in the manga and thinking it was so hype when Aiolia and the other two Saints quickly assumed the pose and told the villains that they weren’t the only one capable of this kind of power. There is something about two groups using the power of a big bang against each other that just gets you hyped. I was certainly feeling good when seeing that.

Even the first use of the technique against Shaka was really hype too. It’s really an incredible attack although I don’t see why Athena banned it. Sure, it’s powerful but sometimes you need that kind of power. If it’s another honor thing…and it’s implied that it is, then it’s even less of a reason to ban the technique. You really need to use everything at your disposal whenever possible and this fight is no exception.

Now, this is less about this OVA in particular, but I think Athena should have attacked Hades before he woke up. We learn here that when a Saint dies he is thrown into the Underworld which is ruled by Hades. He can torment their souls for all eternity unless they join him in his mission. Shouldn’t Athena just dismantle the place then and either rule it or destroy the system? Even if the soul is then wiped out for good, at least it will be at peace and not forced to attack you.

The very existence of the Underworld is just a really somber thought for the Saints because it means that the only goal at the end of their eternal struggle is to be inflicted with more pain. There just isn’t a big grand prize or any reason to celebrate. I wonder if Athena has even thought of that. There may be a plot reason why this isn’t possible but I’d like to see someone mention it.

Meanwhile, another point in the OVA’s favor is that it’s just so good to see the Gold Saints actually fighting. They really didn’t get to do anything outside of fighting the heroes in the first two arcs. This is the first time we get to see them actually fighting the villains on their own. It sure took a while but ultimately it happened which is the important part. It’s definitely something to look forward to. These are the best of the best or that’s what we’re led to believe so lets see how they defend themselves.

Again, the Spectres themselves are mostly unimpressive though so I think they would go down pretty fast. You have the Beetle who doesn’t seem very tough and was getting the hands quickly. You have the guy whose back seems perpetually broken and just likes gossiping the whole time. When it comes time for a fight he goes down extremely quickly. Of course most of the really powerful ones will probably show up in the Underworld but be that as it may, the Spectres who were around were definitely no match for Sanctuary.

Overall, This was a great start to the Hades saga. I look forward to seeing the Bronze Saints get a more active role in the next one. It would also be good if the animation could take at least a bit of a step up. It should definitely keep in the selective CGI shots. I’m usually not all in for CGI but you can’t deny that it really increased the intensity and emotional moments here. It feels like a true war where there are big losses on both sides and in part that’s because we see what a grand place this is. Fighting in the temples really feels sacred. The OVA jumps you right into the action so you’ll probably want to have checked out the show first, but granted you can also leap into action and get what’s going on since it’s clear who the good guys and bad guys are. The villains are all in black/purple while the heroes are in gold. It’s tapping into classic Greek mythology like Athena vs Hades as well. Get ready for the cliffhanger though as the saga isn’t quite over yet. It’s an epic cliffhanger to end on though.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya: Origin Review


Saint Seiya returns with the next spinoff. It’s another trip to the past as we see more of Gemini Saga. It’s interesting how this one adds a few new angles to how the events played out. They’re all completely self contained too and even knock themselves out so it doesn’t affect canon much. It’s a nice way to make the journey more unexpected though so I’m certainly on board with this. Sadly Aiolos doesn’t return but I suppose he already got his title.

This title is 2 chapters long and starts out with Seiya bringing the pain to Gemini Saga. It’s the climax of the arc and Seiya has just landed the final blow. This causes Saga to remember how this all went down. In the past the Pope and Roshi have a discussion about trying to keep the realm strong since Hades will be showing up soon. They sense something sinister in the air but figure that it’s probably nothing. Roshi will be monitoring the waterfall after all so if something happens then he will be ready.

Well, one day a pair of comets appear and land by the Pope. It is Gemini Saga and his twin brother. They will make for great gold Saints but then another baby lands on the island. Roshi realizes that it is the dark star of legend, a sign that one of Hades heralds has arrived. He commands the Pope to destroy this baby..but it’s a baby so who’s gonna do that right? The Pope declines of course and the baby vanishes into thin air and is absorbed into Gemini Saga. Little did anyone know, that is why Saga turned evil and it wasn’t actually a split personality. It’s actually one of Hades’ minions…….

So that is a pretty interesting change that’s for sure. His name is Gemini Lemur and he is way stronger than Saga at least mentally so taking control of him during the saga was child’s play. He doesn’t actually get to talk in this special though as he just takes the form of smoke and manipulates events how he wants it to play out. It’s a nice concept but the guy barely feels like a character.

The more interesting subplot is with Ker, one of the highest ranking fighters in Hades’ army. I’m pretty sure she was made up for this prequel but I’m not positive. She woke up early somehow and decides to “play a prank” on Athena by summoning Lemur. She also mocks Kanon for kicks which backfires horribly on her. It was nice to see Kanon getting his hype here. With the Trident of Poseidon it makes sense that he would be pretty powerful. It also gave the prequel some action since this is more of a lore heavy story. So that was a nice confrontation. I always liked Kanon as a solid villain.

Ker is also pretty interesting. Honestly she probably should have just stepped in and destroyed Athena if she really wanted to make Hades proud. He certainly wouldn’t have been against it and this would have been an easy task with all of the infighting going around. It’s why narratively speaking it may be a little questionable to have someone so powerful just watching on the sidelines the whole time.

The art is pretty good as expected. The character models are on point and the action can look dramatic. You can tell that the fights would look good here if we actually got some of them. It definitely would have been a cool touch if you ask me. At only two chapters this series really goes by in the blink of an eye though. It’s not quite as strong as the other one but I had no issues with this story. It’s pretty interesting and hopefully they put it at the end of some kind of volume release as a bonus chapter. More people should get to see this part of the lore.

It doesn’t do the Gold Saints any favors though. I never cut these guys any slack because they haven’t earned it. Even here, Roshi has one job which is to watch the Waterfall in case Hades approaches and yet he doesn’t do anything even when Ker infiltrates Athena’s lair (Roshi doesn’t even realize this) and when the shadow comet lands by the Pope he still does nothing. What’s the point of standing guard if you will always just sit back and wait to see how it all plays out?

It was nice to have a lot of easter eggs and foreshadowing at the ready for the Hades arc though. Roshi explaining that a shadow comet is the sign of their arrival is something that did happen at the beginning of the Hades arc. Likewise, that the reason he can’t move by the Waterfall is that he has to wait for the Hades seal to come undone. Of course, it’s pretty easy to add Easter Eggs when a prequel comes out way after the series completed but it’s still nice to see. It helps everything just feel more expansive.

Overall, Saint Seiya: Origin is a good little story. You almost feel like a title that says “Origin” would be about the original Saints though and not how Saga got his dark side. Even in this chapter they reference the events of the original Holy War and how a lot of the Golden Saints died. They’re the ones who would need a prequel. I’m sure they’ll show up in one of the many spinoffs but a title literally called “Origin” would definitely be very fitting for those guys. Either way this is definitely another story I can certainly recommend.

Overall 7/10

Saint Seiya: Episode Zero Review


Saint Seiya has always made it clear that most of the Gold Saints are either evil or complacent. They don’t help when it counts and usually avoid fighting entirely so Athena never really had a lot to work with. This quick one shot expands what happened with Aiolos into 3 chapters and shows us just how much he had to go through to keep her safe. It’s a fun prequel and I always like seeing more of this guy since he is easily the best Gold Saint and one of the best Saint Seiya characters in general.

Episode Zero starts off with the Pope getting ready to choose which Gold Saint will succeed him in the position. There are really only two candidates who are close to the position though and they are Aiolos and Gemini Saga. Aiolos believes that Saga would be the best man for the job since the guy is revered as really being a great person and his abilities are second to none. Little does he realize that Saga is currently dealing with a lot of inner doubts and believes that Aiolos should be the man for the job.

The time table is sped up though when Saga goes missing and the Pope seemingly goes insane. Aiolos needs to keep baby Athena safe but where can he go? The other Golden Saints all want Aiolos dead since the Pope claims he is trying to take Athena and they have enough power to rend the whole solar system into oblivion. Somehow Aiolos needs to escape them and get Athena to safety but this won’t be easy.

All Saint Seiya mediums have one thing in common, they make sure to show that the Golden Saints are absolutely the biggest jerks around. I don’t want to hear that they’re supposed to be heroes or anything like that because they really aren’t. They actively do everything they can to help the villains and don’t listen to reason. Now, we already knew this because this 3 chapter prequel is effectively expanding on what we saw near the beginning of Saint Seiya. So you know how it ends but this really gets into the specifics.

I’d say it’s also taking a few liberties here as Aiolos refuses to fight back while he’s usually shown to be fighting against the Golden Knights. My favorite part of the mobile game was when he knocked out 3 of them in the opening level. Given that Aiolos is one of the strongest Golden Knights it makes sense although I suppose this manga would probably have more weight as canon material than a mobile game. Not really sure.

Regardless, Aiolos shines through as a great character here. Since he knows that the war with Hades is approaching (I think he may have underestimated how long it would take for Hades to show up since that was the final arc of the series) he has decided not to injure any of the Golden Knights since they will need to all be ready to fight soon. That part can be a little frustrating as these villains are pounding away at him and he decides not to fight back. I think it’s the wrong call but I admire his drive.

Aiolos manages to complete his mission with flying colors and never looks back. As for the other Golden Knights, well they get 0 points to be honest. So you’ve got the main 3 who are after him, Aphrodite, Shura, and Death. Usually I see him called Death Mask but in this manga they just call him Death which is a cool title anyway. These guys are pretty bad. At least Death has the excuse of actually being evil which makes a lot of sense on why he wouldn’t mind carrying out this mission.

The other two have no such excuse and they look awful when they try attacking Aiolos and basically say that they won’t listen to anything he tells them. Must be easy to trick someone when they won’t hear the other side of the story. They just look so petty ganging up on Aiolos when he won’t even fight back. Not minding the fact that their attacks will put Athena in danger is also really suspect.

The entire goal of the Golden Saints (Or any Saint to be honest) is to protect Athena so when they put this mission on hold or try to attack her then that means they are failing in their entire purpose. It’s just a really bad look and it’s why I never liked the Gold Saints. Aiolos is the only exception and that’s why he had to get bumped off early.

Gemini Saga also looks pretty bad here. He is overwhelmed by his dark side with such ease that it’s disgraceful. When you have a split personality you’d like to think that both sides are pretty evenly split but the evil one is clearly a lot more powerful. How did that ever happen? It means that the good side was definitely slacking in his mental defenses. He only ever whines when he is on screen which isn’t a good look anyway.

Athena actually gets a pretty intense scene where she glares at one of the Golden Saints and stops him in his tracks. Yeah it’s a little cheesy I’ll grant you that but at least Athena is doing something. That’s more than what she tends to do in the main series after all.

The art is pretty solid. It’s definitely got the vibe of the original series within it that’s for sure. There isn’t really a chance for a lot of fight scenes here which is unfortunate but I suppose it would be hard to incorporate more into this prequel. I still defer to the mobile game since it did add the extra fights to this part of the saga.


Overall, This was a fun prequel. It’s always good to see more of Aiolos since he doesn’t get to appear almost at all in the main adventures. That’s why I would have liked to have seen him fight more. Since it’s only 3 chapters, the series goes by in a flash but it was certainly a fun ride. If you enjoy Saint Seiya then this is definitely a good special to check out. Hopefully one day they bring Aiolos back into more of a starring role. I’ve still got a lot of different spinoffs to check out so maybe he’ll be in one of those.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya: Warriors of the Final Holy War Review


Saint Seiya returns once again to fight their most powerful opponents yet. If you’ve seen the first three films then you know you’re about to see another epic installment in the franchise. Athena may not look great here but she has improved quite a bit since the last film. This one’s back to being a bit on the shorter side but it cuts right to the action so you’re still going to get a lot of epic battles.

The movie starts with a bang as Lucifer has been resurrected. He sends his minions to go and take down the Gold Saints first. They quickly murder each one in an instant and then after that they go with Lucifer to take Athena down. Athena is unable to stop these guys and even Seiya and friends are defeated. It all just happened so fast and now the world is in ruins as towns are being flooded and cities are being destroyed. Lucifer gives Athena once chance to save the world. She will have to walk over to his throne across a valley of thorns and sacrifice herself so that the world will live. Athena has decided to do this but her Saints aren’t thrilled at the prospect. They’ve decided to rise and fight against this guy.

Shiryu missed out on the initial battle involving the main saints so he is the only one still at full power while Seiya, Hyoga, and Shun are already at death’s door. Of course Ikki also wasn’t there but he never is. Due to this, Shiryu actually gets some of the best scenes in the film such as taking on two of Lucifer’s minions at the same time. Considering how these guys handled the other Saints so easily, it was a pretty intense moment. We also got to hear him say the catchphrase “The same technique never works on a Saint twice” which was hype.

Shiryu fans will definitely enjoy his appearance here as I would say it is his best appearance across all of the films. Then you have Shun who gets beat as usual but I suppose he did hold his own for a bit. The issue is that his opponent could literally slice through his chains without any effort which is an issue. Not much you can do if your chains aren’t strong enough to defend with right?

Ikki naturally gets to step in and look good though. Again I would say his role here is rather small but he takes his opponent out pretty quick with his illusions which is always fun. It’s clear that his abilities are near the top when it comes to all Saints around the board. There’s not much to complain about when that’s the case since I suppose he would end up stealing the show if he was there the whole time. He has a pretty hype scene where he tells Shun that he needs to get up on his own though.

Hyoga also looks good here. He may not stand out as much as in the last film since he got such a big focus there at times but he takes on his opponent and looks quite good. Then you have Seiya who definitely looks great here. He doesn’t back down and isn’t afraid to give his opponents some attitude as well. It doesn’t matter if it’s Lucifer or Hades going up against him, Seiya always fights hard for Athena. He gets to unleash his Meteor Fist and of course takes out his trump card near the end.

Compared to the last film which was going for more of an ambitious setup, I would say this film is really going back down to basics. Athena is defeated/put in a position where she will die soon so the heroes have to save her as soon as possible. We get the big fights as the heroes near the end and then the climax has arrived. There are really no side quests or anything to distract you.

That said, if you think about it some more then the Gold Saints look pitiful once more. When even Virgo Shaka was taken out in an instant I had to shake my head at that. I mean…I guess you could say since it was 4 on 1 that if they go all out from the start even Virgo would lose but it’s hard to see it being that quick. Lets say we take it to be fact that all of the Saints are massively faster than light so that one instant was actually a few minutes of their time in battling. Couldn’t Virgo have landed any real hits or something? I don’t see him calling for backup but the guy was always shown to be one of the most powerful Saints so losing just like that was hard to buy.

It is an effective way of building up hype for the new villains though. Since the heroes surpassed the Gold Saints in Arc 1 I am fully comfortable with them defeating the guys who beat the Gold Saints as well. That tracks for sure, but why didn’t some of the other Gold Saints arrive to help like Roshi? At least he could have offered some kind of assistance. Athena really needs to fire all of her Gold Saints since they never help her anyway.

The animation is very solid as always. It doesn’t really use any super cool effects like the fire blasts in the last film but it’s all very consistent. Ikki’s illusion was certainly fun and all of the battles have a lot going on. Keeping up with the close range blows and projectiles is fun. The choreography here is definitely on point. As expected the soundtrack also delivers the whole time as well as it amps up the battles.

Overall, Saint Seiya continues its run of solid films. You do feel like there’s not much of the Earth left to save by the time Lucifer is done with it but I suppose that’s at least something Athena and her magic can work out. At least it gives her something to do when all is said and done. Since the series uses all kinds of inspirations from around the globe for each set of villains it was fun to see a Biblical interpretation here. Lucifer certainly makes for an intimidating villain in that sense and existing in the same series as Hades will naturally have you wonder which fighter is stronger. If you like action films then you’ve definitely got to check this one out. It’ll give you all the fighting you could ever want with the characters inspiring you as they get up after each hit.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya: Legend of Crimson Youth Review


The Saint Seiya crew returns once more for another great film. The movies have been quite consistent in quality and this one is no different. With the extended run time we also get to see quite a lot of extra action scenes here. Some characters look a little suspect of course but ultimately you are bound to have a good time.

One day Abel returns to the world. He is the god of the Sun and Athena’s long lost brother. His abilities are pretty much invincible and he also has 4 Corona Saints working for him. As a result, he says that Athena no longer needs her bronze saints to defend her. Seiya and the others are outraged at this but Athena confirms it must be this way. She doesn’t even bat an eye when the main Corona Saint beats Seiya to a pulp and even the Golden Saints who had been slain have returned to offer their allegiance.

After the Bronze Saints are gone and Athena is sure that nobody can protect her, she offers one of the worst attacks I’ve ever seen as she tries to defeat Abel. He quickly murders her and then his Corona Saints murder the only 2 Golden Saints who were brave enough to try and defend her. With Athena on her way to hell, Seiya and pals must once again don their armors in order to save her. Still, they are going up against foes who have even defeated the golden saints with ease. Do they have a chance?

I’ll go into the positives in a minute but I just have one negative with the film which is that the plot makes Athena and the Gold Saints look absolutely horrible. Athena is the main culprit here though. So her long lost brother shows up and after hanging out with him for a few hours she is ready to discard her saints entirely and just follow his rule? She doesn’t object when he beats up her friends via proxy? The guy is so corrupt it’s obvious and she seems to know it but decides not to make a move.

It’s almost worse that she decides to attack him later since we find out that she knew he was evil all along. The reason she waited is she thought Seiya and friends would get murdered by him. She should know they would try to avenge her anyway so that would be even worse. Even more so when you realize that there were 5 Gold Saints with her at the time so Seiya would have had some backup. Her plan was just nuts and she dies without even putting up a fight. Athena has to be the weakest cosmic being in the series.

Then you also have the Gold Saints bowing to these Corona guys and refusing to do anything. At least 2 of them rose up to try and defend Athena but naturally they were absolutely crushed since it was 4 against 2. It’s nice that they acted but it was too little too late. They should have been helping Seiya when he was getting pounded, particularly as it seemed like Seiya would have beaten his opponent if not for Athena stopping him.

There’s no defense for Gemini Saga and the others though. Just standing by as their allies are being beaten is the height of disgrace. Their armors should have shattered in disgust as they went to find a new owner. So the story itself feels very forced and there were many better ways to set this up. At least once we do get to Seiya and friends storming the temple then we get back on track.

Once the introductions are over then the heroes quickly march on to take these guys down. Seiya in particular looks great here since he didn’t wait for any kind of explanation and just went right to the action. Now, he was filled with self doubt so he tended to lose a whole lot here but at least he always got right back up. He’s not the kind of character to back down from a fight and he got the job done in the end.

I think fans of all the bronze saints should be satisfied here. Shiryu was the one who found out the method to save Athena and did well in taking his guy out. He even let the opponent get a false sense of security so he could confirm his theory about Athena. Hyoga flat out defeated one of the Corona Saints in a fair fight which was very impressive and was also one of the first ones to reach Abel. Of course that was partially because they let him.

Shun got beat real quick in his fight but that is to be expected. After getting saved he was at least able to assist Seiya near the end by stopping one of the opponent’s blows. It may not be perfect, but you can see some improvement with Shun. Ikki looks great here as he naturally takes his guy down. If not for a cheap shot he may have been able to do a whole lot more as well. I admit that I would have liked to have seen him take on the main villains more though.

As for the Corona Knights, they make for fun adversaries. The main one, Carina had a really good fire attack that the animators clearly had fun with. Effectively his flames burn you from the inside out so it looks like the character is expanding from the hot air. You can feel how painful that attack has to be. Others had electric wires which were also deadly and a nice variety of attacks. As with most of these films since it is a whole group introduced here it is hard to really remember any of their names in particular. Additionally their introductions are long since they also say where they are from.

That said, each villain is good. I wouldn’t say any were underwhelming. The evil Gold Saints were also good opponents even if they didn’t learn anything from their last defeats at the hands of the saints. I would have liked Gemini Saga to have done a little ore but I suppose taking on one of the Corona Knights would have to suffice. Perhaps he should have let his evil side out a bit more and then he could have really taken the fight to these guys.

The animation here was really good as you would expect. The fight scenes really shine and the armors look very sleek on the characters. Saint Seiya is one of those titles you really watch for the fun fight scenes and they always deliver. You can probably tell how most of the fights will play out since Saint Seiya is a very formulaic series but it doesn’t undercut the raw determination that each character brings to the table. The music tracks also fit right in with what’s going on.

Overall, Saint Seiya delivers with another great film. The climax even tries to go a bit more high scale than the last 2 films which is good if you like the other Saints as well as Seiya. Ikki’s role may be a bit smaller than the first two films but it’s satisfying. I had my issues with the plot and Athena as she continually disappoints but the main Bronze Saints all look good. It’s nice to see how far they’ve come from the old days as they now take on opponents who were easily crushing the Golden Saints. While the gold fighters may not have looked great here, I do like the idea of getting them in on the action a bit. It really helps to solidify these new guys as true threats.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya: Evil Goddess Eris Review


It’s time to look at the first Saint Seiya film. This was back when some films would be quite short at well under an hour and that is the case with this one. What that also means though is it gets to jump right into the action so that part’s fun. The action pretty much goes on for the entire film which is always hype. It’s a solid story that is well contained here.

The film starts with Seiya and friends enjoying a normal day at the orphanage. Hyoga and Eri even get to spend some time staring at each other. Unfortunately, an evil goddess known as Eris arrives and possesses Eri’s body. Eri then ambushes Athena on one of her horseback riding adventures and takes her away to a temple. Athena is able to resist the body snatching abilities of Eris so the villain decides to break her emotionally by destroying the saints in front of her. She sends a signal to Athena’s Knights to come and save her if they dare. Eris also summons the 4 Ghost Saints to take care of the heroes when they arrive. Seiya and friends do not hesitate as they head on over.

That’s really it for the plot because from here on our you can expect some hype battles between saints. It’s quite nostalgic seeing the heroes in this film. The movie includes the original theme song from the show and of course all of the classic tunes are here. Even the whole “A saint never falls for the same trick twice” line returns which is a classic. The heroes all have rather difficult battles but manage to overcome them as needed. The film feels like a speed run through an arc as Andromeda gets absolutely wrecked as expected, Shiryu has to drop his armor, Ikki shows up for a rescue, Hyoga lets his guard down, etc.

Of course, those are all great story beats so including them all in a film is bound to be a winning idea. Naturally Seiya looks great here. He’s a true hero as always and puts in a lot of dedication to survive to the end. He takes some particularly bad hits in the film such as hitting his head on a cliff when being thrown away and taking some seriously lethal blows. Fortunately he was able to survive these and keep on fighting as a true saint. Constantly throughout battles Seiya gets hit so hard he even loses all of his senses, even Goku might wince at this kind of damage. Just goes to show why the guy is still an absolute living legend.

Meanwhile Hyoga looks good but he does fall for the classic emotional trap. I’ll give him this, he got to have the best opening scene since he took down the car and saved a kid. In the fight he also looked good as he was overwhelming his opponent until he let his guard down. He’s typically the weakest member of the team outside of Shun but it’s more of a by default since the team is absolutely stacked. You have Seiya and Ikki at the top with Shiryu following close behind. I would say Hyoga is right under him and then Andromeda is way below the rest. I think Hyoga fans will still be satisfied since he was looking so dominant here which makes up for not having another fight scene.

It’s better than Andromeda fans at least as he goes down so quickly in this movie that he doesn’t even get to take out his chains. You would assume the guy isn’t a fighter based on how this one went down. It was more than a little embarrassing if we’re being honest. No Knight of Athena should go down in a single blow. Even in the main series Andromeda never looked quite so bad so…..ah man it must have been rough for his fans when they were leaving the theater.

Ikki looks absolutely amazing though. Not only does he step in to take that guy down but he also gets a pretty good fight against the main villain. It was actually even for a while and he was ready to keep on fighting until Seiya stepped in. I was glad to see him look so good here and it keeps reaffirming why he is my favorite character in the series. His fire attacks just look very cool and I like that unwavering confidence of his.

Meanwhile Shiryu also looks good. He was initially getting pummeled but that’s more or less part of his fighting strategy. The dragon within him gets stronger the more damage he takes. Shiryu’s specialty is stacking the deck against himself and this is completed once he takes off his armor and allows any hit against him to be lethal. Now that the stakes are so high he can really show his stuff. His ultimate move is a bit of a self destruction attack so he can’t use it often but it does always work. His sheer durability is probably the highest out of the cast. (I would consider Ikki’s infinite regeneration to be different from durability)

None of the villains are particularly noteworthy. They were all pretty good though. They talk tough, insult the heroes, and flex their powers. Basically they do everything you could want out of a villain. They may be a bit interchangeable in that sense but they all have different abilities. The one who fought Shiryu for example was really proud of his own strength while the one who fought Andromeda was more about ending his foes peacefully. At the end of the day their core personalities are similar though and that’s good since they were all impressive.

As for Eris, she can’t exactly fight so don’t expect her to get a big fight scene. Her plan wasn’t half bad though, just a little longer and she would have won. Honestly it would have been smarter not to call in the Saints though. I feel like Athena would have broken down soon anyway and then there wouldn’t be any danger. Maybe Eris just really enjoys a good fight though. Athena looked pretty bad here though. She should at least be able to defend herself a little bit right? Cmon, she is a goddess incarnate….

As expected the animation here is really good. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily at a higher level than the show but it does look really clear. I definitely have no issues with the animation. The fights certainly deliver and the soundtrack is on point as you would expect. There are a lot of powerful songs to listen to here and each one will certainly help to enhance the scene that they’re in.

Overall, This is a quick film so there’s not a whole lot to say. Still, it’s a great adventure since it’s really like a true mini arc. The Saints split up and systematically shut down each and everyone of their opponents. If that’s not true power then I don’t know what is. If you’re a fan of Saint Seiya or just like action in general then this is definitely a great film to check out. There’s one scene with a horse that might get you very nervous but fortunately the film didn’t go the way I was expecting. Things could have spun out of control really easily and it’s still the weakest scene in the film but fortunately he was okay in the end.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya Review


Saint Seiya is a very well known series. To call it a legendary title would actually be pretty accurate. It was effectively the DBZ before that title actually came out. It’s got a ton of quality action and solid characters. While the show is a little more formulaic than most with each arc following a lot of similar beats, the anime adds a new arc which really changes things up. it’s an example of a filler arc that’s actually pretty solid. (Still the weakest arc in the series but solid nonetheless. You’d never know it was an anime original) I’ve had this review on the backburner for an extremely long time so it’s time to finally take a look at it.

The series starts by introducing us to Seiya. He’s an orphan who grew up in a rather tough place. One day he was sent out along with a few others to different parts of the globe to train to be a Saint of Athena. Seiya has no interest in this but he was told that doing so and obtaining the Bronze Cloth (Proof of conquering the Saint trials) would be the only way he could ever see his missing sister again. So Seiya has conquered this task and arrives back home where the agreement has been changed. He will have to win a tournament against the other bronze candidates now. Well, Seiya’s up for the challenge because nothing will stop him from finding his sister.

This was a really great way to start the series. After all, who doesn’t like a good tournament right? It’s always a solid way to set up the characters and let us learn about them. It also weeds out the rest of the Bronze Saints who would never really be main characters after this. Only the main 5 would continue on. I thought Unicorn left more of an impression on me in the anime than the manga though. I liked his rivalry with Seiya here even if he would ultimately be out of luck early on. Seiya just surpassed him by a ton and never looked back.

Additionally we then got to see the Dark Saints and that was a really fun arc as everyone fought their shadow selves. One thing I greatly enjoyed was seeing the characters actually fighting out in the real world here. One fight was on the highway for example. While that may not seem like a big thing, you’ll never see that for the rest of the series. All other battles take place in enemy territory or at Athena’s home. I suppose there was no reason to fight in the city after that but I always get really excited when it happens. I find the city environment to be the perfect backdrop to a fight.

We are introduced to quite a lot of the characters in this arc. First off lets talk about Athena I suppose. She is effectively a lady who has been imbued with Athena’s spirit and has effectively become her as Athena is born again in every generation. She has one of the highest cosmos (Power level) in the series but for the most part can’t use it in an offensive context. She is great at using it for defense and healing though. I’d say she’s a solid character but I do think she allows far too much corruption to occur at home.

For example, her butler Tatsumi gets away with absolutely everything. We see that he would actually beat up the Saints when they were kids and in particular he really would beat up Ikki. At the time it was Athena’s father running the show but the all knowing Athena should have certainly let him go after that. This is mostly a comedic plot later on with the Saints messing with him, but Tatsumi never actually changed his ways. They just became stronger than him. In some ways I feel like Tatsumi was the real villain behind all of this. Athena is a good character otherwise but I do wish that she would fight more. For example, instead of jumping into the water chamber to stop Poseidon I’d prefer if she called in the Knights to assist. With all of the Golden Saints they would have beaten Poseidon’s generals with ease.

Seiya is of course a great hero. He never really wanted to be a part of this but when Athena is in danger he steps in. At his core Seiya is a hero of course so he can’t just leave someone behind if they’re in trouble. He’s also a lot more hot headed than some of the other characters and is quite willing to invade any territory to help Athena. While the Gold Knights are just holding back and staying at the castle Seiya is actually jumping in to take center stage. From all of the Knights he may be the quickest to jump into action and his dedication is rewarded time after time with his power ups and the fact that he surpasses most of the characters right away. His fighting style is the most basic and yet because of that he can move with so much speed and power that it is hard to stop.

Next up we have Shiryu and he solidly represents the third most powerful Bronze Knight. Every good Shounen series always has a guy in the solid third place. You’ve always got the main character and the rival, but then you also need the dependable third in command who stays near the top of the power scale to the end. That’s Shiryu’s role and it’s a painful one because the show really liked to put him through the ringer. He’s a fairly solid character though. All of his scenes are definitely on point and his Shield is probably one of the most impressive equipment items in the whole series. While it isn’t 100% completely indestructible, it is still durable enough to block almost any blow and gets him through most of his fights.

Shiryu also works as the voice of reason a lot of the time. He isn’t quite as headstrong as some of the others. Next is Hyoga who can be one of the meaner saints at times. He never actually turns evil like Ikki though but takes the whole thing very seriously. His Diamon Dust technique is certainly a classic and he holds up with the rest of the Saints pretty well if you ask me. I probably wouldn’t put him quite above the others power-wise (Aside from Andromeda) but he’s got a good amount of skill. I like all of the Bronze Saints and Hyoga is no exception. He’s a solid hero who is always ready to step up.

Then you have Ikki who is easily my favorite Saint. I would argue he is also the most powerful one. He can keep on coming back to life forever thanks to the regenerative abilities of the Phoenix cloth. That’s an incredibly useful ability to have at your disposal and it really sets him apart from the rest of the characters. What can you do against a character who just keeps regenerating like that right? Ikki did have a period of time where he turned evil but he did have to go through a whole lot of craziness so you can see how it happened. From there he would end up being the most dependable character on the squad. Whenever his brother Andromeda is in danger you can count on Ikki to jump in immediately and start saving lives. It’s just what he does and he makes it look easy.

Finally we have Andromeda and he’s probably the weakest of the Saints. He’s one of those characters with a ton of potential but ultimately doesn’t like fighting so it takes him a while to actually get serious You can draw up a lot of parallels with him and Gohan from DBZ. Andromeda does have one of the best weapons in the series though with the Chains he carries. They can follow an opponent across whole planets and even into other dimensions. They automatically protect him from harm and attack on their own as well. It’s a very versatile weapon to be sure and as Andromeda grows stronger, the chains will as well.

Then we have the two Silver Saints Marin and Shaina. Both of them are pretty helpful characters who assist the Bronze Saints in times of great peril. They’re both reasonably tough although I would definitely take Shaina in a head to head battle. She’s much fiercer in combat and has beaten Marin in the past. Both of them have to hide a lot of secrets and appear to switch sides a lot as a result. I never became a big fan of Marin but Shaina was always fun. She was definitely willing to risk her life quite a bit to help Seiya out of a pinch.

The next big arc is the famous Gold Saints saga. It’s an incredibly long one and deserves the praise as it really took the series to a new level. Well, after some Silver Saints showed up to cause trouble and were thwarted, Athena was struck by an arrow. The only way to keep the arrow from claiming her life is to get to the top of Sanctuary and turn the shield monument. To do so the heroes will have to get past the 12 Golden Saint temples. Each Golden Saint is thousands of times stronger than the bronze ones and their armors have been created to effectively be indestructible. Attacks simply bounce off of them or get absorbed entirely. The heroes also have a time limit of 12 hours so they can’t afford to waste time. Can they surpass their limits and save Athena?

This arc’s just a blast. Seeing the heroes have to go into the temples and take down the Gold Saints is just incredible. You can feel the tension in each match particularly as the heroes are completely outmatched each time. Each of the Golden Saints are far more powerful and faster than the Bronze ones. Their armor is better as well so all of the advantages are at their disposal. It means you can prepare for a lot of good heroic speeches from the Bronze Saints as they call these guys out and dredge up their inner power.

The Golden Saints do deserve to be called out because they all either get played for fools or just make the wrong decision. I couldn’t call almost any of them heroes to be honest. I would just say that about Aiolos because he was willing to stand up to the other Golden Saints to save Athena and stop the Pope’s evil plans. Nobody else tried helping, in fact they actively tried to fight him off. Others simply ran off never to be heard from again. So Aiolos is easily the best Golden Saint and it isn’t even close. The rest of them should probably have renounced their titles after this arc was over.

Aries doesn’t play a big role in this arc as he is one of the Golden Saints who decides not to interfere anymore. He prefers to just watch over everything without picking a side. I’ll remind you that choosing not to pick a side is actually choosing one anyway. As a result this guy’s definitely one of my least favorite Saints. He is not someone you can count on and could have helped the Bronze Saints so many times but chose not to. As a result I’d think of him more as a villain if anything. Particularly since he actively threatens anyone who says they are going to help. Definitely a very poor character I must say.

Taurus is the first true Knight to take on the Bronze Saints so he looks really good but we can probably say he’s the weakest one around. He’s a very direct guy who has an honor code and just lets his fists do the talking. He seems like a Saint who can at least be reasoned with so I’ll give him some respect there. He’s a fun guy so it would just be nice if he could fight a little more. I suppose at this stage it is relative though because there’s no shame in being a little weaker than his fellow Gold Saints since those guys are so powerful as it is.

Gemini Saga has a huge role to be sure. He’s a critical part of the Sanctuary arc and makes his presence felt at all times. I would put him as the strongest Golden Knight. I think there is a case to be made that Virgo or Aiolos could take him on 1 on 1 but it would definitely be a great fight either way. I’m a big fan of this guy for sure. He’s definitely dealing with a lot of issues and you can probably guess based on what sign he represents what is going on here. His Galaxian Explosion technique is also famous. It’s sort of like how Sephiroth blows up the solar system in his cutscene. Gemini Saga has an attack that’s like a galaxy crushing into you. It definitely looks cool and his “Another Dimension” ability definitely deserves some praise as well.

Virgo Shaka is low key one of the most evil Saints around though. He knows exactly what was going on the whole time and chose not to do so. He seems to think that he is above good and evil and that’s exactly why you can’t trust him. When someone gets such an inflated opinion of himself it can be quite dangerous. Virgo is basically saying that anything he does is justified. I’ll give him props for being able to fight so well with his eyes closed though. He is undoubtedly powerful. It’s just a shame that he always picks the wrong side. I’d have to list him as a villain here.

Deathmask is an interesting Golden Saint because he is the only member who is downright evil 100% through. He really couldn’t care less about fighting for justice and actively goes around murdering people. It’s a shame that the other Saints allow this…. I was not expecting one of the Saints to be truly evil back when I first read the manga though so that was interesting. He makes for a pretty intense villain to be sure but definitely not a particularly likable character.

Aiolia is a fun Saint and as one of the most heroic ones that naturally means that he has to be mind controlled so he can fight the heroes. Without that there’s no way he would have gone to blows. He did really well even while mind controlled so at full power he should definitely be one of the most powerful Golden Saints. He actually acts like a true warrior worthy of his position so he is definitely one of the best knights around. You can’t go wrong with this guy.

Scorpio is one of the more vengeful Seiya characters. Due to a big misunderstanding he thought he was fufilling the will of Sanctuary. For that reason I’ll give him a little credit as he was at least trying to protect Athena in his own way. It just didn’t work out the way that he thought it would. His abilities are definitely pretty good. I wouldn’t say he stands out as much as some of the other characters but he’s a well developed character all the same. Then we have Shura who has some of the most impressive scenes in the series. He can strike with his fast energy blows in the blink of an eye. Most of the characters can’t even keep up with him and even Shiryu’s defense couldn’t hold his power. Shura was very impressive throughout the series and is one of the best members of Sanctuary. He’s at least one Knight who acted quite heroically in the end.

Next up is Camus He’s an ice user and has some history with Hyoga’s mentor so this naturally ends up making them rivals. Camus is a pretty interesting member. He seems to be one of the most senior Saint members so he doesn’t blindly take orders like some of the others. He even voluntarily leaves his temple to seek out a fight which was pretty neat. I liked him, Camus may not have been one of the most reasonable guys and his methods are rather drastic but he’s a solid fighter and at least his motivations did make a lot of sense.

Finally we have Aphrodite, but this guy wasn’t particularly noteworthy. His fighting abilities are good and the rose based abilities are neat but compared to the rest he felt tacked on to an extent. I don’t believe he ever gets a big role after this. I’ll take him over Aries any day though. At least this guy stays by his temple and actually contributes to the plot instead of waiting for it to come to him. I should also mention that Dohko appears but that guy annoys me as well. He basically hides from the fight and chooses to pretend to be an old man so that he does not need to get mixed up in any of the action. Not exactly the heroic nature you would expect from a Saint now is it?

It was always going to be tough to follow up such a masterful arc but the Asgard arc would try its best. In the remote land of Asgard, Queen Hilda has been corrupted by an evil influence. She summons her God Warriors to prepare for a war on the human world and even attacks Sanctuary. This forces the hand of Athena and the Knights who show up to stop them. Athena can hold back the ice and water for a while but not forever. The Saints must now defeat all of the God Warriors and take down Hilda before Athena perishes. This will be difficult as each of the God Warriors are as powerful as a Golden Saint! The Bronze Knights will have to once again surpass their limits and claim victory.

One nice thing about this arc is that as an original one it could deviate from the usual Saint Seiya script a bit. As a result we actually got some group fights and even Athena got to very briefly show what she could do offensively. The God Warriors were also introduced well so you could see why they were a threat. The only thing holding it back is that this arc introduced some animal violence which the other arcs had been good about. One sob story involves some bears and of course Fenrir uses a lot of wolves at his disposal. What’s even the point of using wolves against a Saint of Athena anyway? I think everyone knew that Shiryu would take them out yet Fenrir acts surprised and even gets super upset with Shiryu for doing that. He only has himself to blame for making such a poor decision in the heat of battle.

Hilda is one of the big players here and she works well as a foil to Athena. Effectively she is an evil version of the goddess and she actually fights from time to time which is pretty neat. She’s a lot more interesting than her sister Freya who doesn’t really fight and just pleads with Hilda to stop the madness all the time. I think it’s safe to say that there was never such an option once Hilda had been corrupted. I would have liked to have seen Freya fight a bit.

Siegfried is effectively the leader of the God Warriors and he is naturally the strongest member. His fight at the end against all of the Saints is definitely a blast. In particular he has a really good fight with Ikki before Seiya eventually steps in to have his tur at back. Siegfried definitely made a few wrong calls near the end of the arc that had me shaking my head but otherwise I did like the guy. His final scenes are also on point as he contributes and takes on one of the future villains. I should mention that the ending of this arc directly connects to the Poseidon arc which I thought was a really cool twist. It was like a sneak preview of what was to come.

Hagen is the lava warrior. He’s a good friend of Freya but I have to say that he was completely unreasonable the whole time. He was given so many chances to stop and keep his life but he just kept on going. It makes it a little harder to feel bad for this guy. I did like him in the flashbacks though. In the present he just wasn’t smart. Meanwhile Thor’s more of a fun fighter. All of the God Warriors have tragic pasts to an extent but Thor’s really just here to fight and take the Saints down. His battle with Seiya is a lot of fun and man, Thor’s huge! Probably the biggest fighter in the series, taking him down wasn’t easy.

Alberich may not have been the strongest member of the God Warriors but he got the most done. If he had any real backup then that would have been game over for the team. What I like about this guy is how cunning he was. He’s got a lot of big ideas even outside of working for Hilda. He takes down almost all of the Saints back to back which is absolutely crazy. It’s really just lucky that he didn’t finish them all. He has a lot of cool abilities and absolute confidence. I would definitely say he’s my favorite villain of this arc and it was sad to see him go.

Meanwhile Fenrir is the worst member. I already spoke about the wolves so I’ll keep this brief. He just failed as a pet owner here and didn’t even realize that it was his fault and started blaming Shiryu instead. You can’t do that, he needed to at least own up to his mistakes and that would have gone a long way. He brought the worst fight of the series in so I could have done without this guy. Even for Saint Seiya standards the fight was one sided too. Am I really supposed to believe that Shiryu could get up after the injuries he sustained? The guy was getting beaten up, bit, and stabbed for whole episodes and then managed to get up. I dunno about that one, but it’s a great durability feat for Shiryu that’s for sure.

Then we have Syd and Bud who are effectively two sides of the same coin. I liked the dynamic here as it was sort of like Gemini Saga only they weren’t quite as aware of each other as Saga was at all times. It also explains why Taurus lost so easily or at least partially. I still don’t see Taurus going down like that. As a Golden Knight of Athena you have to be able to take a few hits and keep on going. They did give us some of the better episodes with the battles involving Ikki and Andromeda though.

Finally we have Mime who had a pretty emotional fight with Ikki. There were quite a few plot twists in that battle to be sure as Ikki kept showing the guy more of his own past in a way to force him to see the truth. I should mention that Ikki’s ability to mess with a person’s mind is pretty impressive. Mime’s a solid villain either way though. I wouldn’t say he’s one of the absolute best but he did well in his appearances.

So the Asgard arc had a lot of great moments. It easily would have passed the Poseidon arc if not for the various animal backstories. I liked that we got more freestyle fights here and I also thought the initial attack as the Asgardians approached Sanctuary was cool. This arc did feel like it was stepping up the intensity at all times and the villains were developed very well. It’s just a solid arc through and through.

Finally we end with the Poseidon arc. While attending a fancy party, Athena is approached by a man of great renown. He is the reincarnated vessel of Poseidon and he has decided to flood the entire planet. Athena pleads with him to stop but he will only do so if she marries him. Athena refuses and offers her one chance to slow the flooding down. To do this, Athena will go inside of a locked chamber where the water will drown her. This will keep the Earth from flooding for as long as she lives. The Bronze Knights will have to defeat all of Atlantis’s powerful Generals in order to break the pillars down and rescue Athena. The issue is that the generals are around Gold Saint level in power. Can the Bronze Knights surpass their limits one last time in order to save her?

Poseidon’s cronies all have a whole lot of confidence and I suppose it’s easy to see why. They are very powerful and did manipulate Asgard into getting destroyed with ease. With Sanctuary weakened as well this is the perfect time to strike. The arc also gave us one of the better Saint Seiya bonding moments as Ikki explained to Hyoga that they’re never allowed to give up while they fight for Athena. The other characters thought it was harsh at the time but Hyoga explained that Ikki was right. It also gave Ikki some time to shine as he went straight for Poseidon instead of bothering with the minions. I always liked that guy’s confidence.

Poseidon is the big bad here and he’s probably the weakest leader villain. Mainly that’s because part of his motivation here is just to marry Athena. Not quite the villain mastermind goal you would really want to see from this guy. He can fight decently well thanks to the powers of Poseidon but the human host isn’t super skilled so he really has to rely on the power as a crutch. The arc as a whole is still excellent but I definitely wouldn’t say that Poseidon is a big reason why. Thetis a loyal minion and the first one to really get a role here. She’s around Silver Saint level so this gave the Sanctuary Silver Knight a chance for a real fight. Beyond that Thetis is reasonable but doesn’t stand out a huge amount.

Baian probably has the least amount of character from Poseidon’s warriors but he has a ton of confidence which is all that I need. His punches are insane to the point where he can knock you across an ocean. He’s very simple, no gimmicks and no tricks. Baian just takes you on face to face and I can appreciate that. Io was cool because of his attacks more than because of his character. Each of his attacks is based on a different animal and it can be tough to predict which one he will use next. It was a good fight with Andromeda and the guy was pushed to his absolute limit in trying to counter each move. Without the animal skills though, Io would definitely be out of luck so he needs to work on his fundamentals more.

Krishna was a fun member of Poseidon’s army. His unstoppable spear was an excellent match to Shiryu’s indestructible shield. Their battle was very solid to be sure. At the end of the day Krishna’s not the kind of guy who’s going to back down in a fight like this so naturally it went all the way down the wire. Caca is more of a deceptive villain. His physical abilities aren’t amazing but he can shapeshift which makes it difficult for the heroes to really go all out against him. It makes sense that he wouldn’t fare quite so well with Ikki though. His fights are always a bit sketchy because you do feel like the heroes shouldn’t take it so hard. He does a number on pretty much the whole cast though so while I’m not a big fan of the guy…he definitely gets results.

Isaac was a very interesting figure. I do find it a bit hard to believe that we had someone who was important to Hyoga’s childhood but wasn’t even referenced earlier. This is one time where some advanced foreshadowing would have been good. The guy was excellent in the flashbacks we see of him though. He is put into a very difficult situation in the present but did as well as he could have. If things could have been different then maybe he would have really been a good ally. Then we have Sorrento who is such a major player that he even appeared in the Asgard arc earlier as a preview. His playing on the flute makes him a tough enemy to deal with to be sure. I’m not really sold on the guy though. He’s decently good but I wouldn’t call him a standout character either.

When Kanon appears he definitely changes everything quite a bit. He’s certainly got big ambitions and it was really nostalgic in a sense seeing him since he’s so similar to Saga. At the end of the day I prefer Gemini Saga but both of these guys are really close and also evenly matched so you can imagine some pretty good battles behind them. He feels like he wasn’t 100% needed in the arc but he adds an extra level of drama to be sure. He’s a wild card that nobody can trust so that’s always interesting to see.

So as mentioned earlier and you can probably tell from the plot descriptions, most of the arcs have that same format. Athena is always at death’s door and the only way to save her is to defeat a specified number of enemies within a restricted time. The Hades arc would actually change this up quite a bit but that’s really the plot for every other arc of Saint Seiya. In a lot of ways it reminds me of the classic Justice League stories from around half a century ago or older where each story would be divided into 4-5 parts and they would all follow the same format with new villains. I suppose repetition may have been encouraged back in the day to show consistency or something. It’s purely conjecture as I don’t know.

Regardless, I’m fine with the arcs having the same format because at the end of the day it’s the execution that is truly important. Each arc is handled really well and the fights are always excellent. Saint Seiya is a series where the action and characters are super important. So long as those areas continue to be strong then the show succeeds. There’s always a great sense of heroism and self sacrifice among the knights. They’re heroes through and through and it makes each fight compelling.

I do have big issues with the Gold Saints at large though. In the first arc I guess I can accept the fact that most of them were following the Pope over Athena since they figured he was telling the truth. Well, not all of them can use that excuse since some knew better and didn’t act. There is 0 reason not to jump in during both the Asgard and Poseidon arcs though. They stand idly by while Athena and co. are in danger. Their entire job is to protect Athena. That’s the number 1 priority even over Sanctuary and yet they never actually act. I’ll give Aiolia some credit for at least assisting by sending his armor in the Poseidon arc but the rest of the characters should have done something. I’ll never be able to come to terms with the fact that the Gold Saints just leave Athena to her own devices each time. Perhaps some of them still hold a grudge against her for the events of Arc 1.

The animation is also very solid. It’s got that classic look and feel to the old days of Shounen. You really feel each and every blow. The heroes are put through the wringer time and time again. I dare say that few main characters have endured the same level of abuse and punishment as the Bronze Saints. Every arc ends up having them beaten to an inch of their lives repeatedly with each battle. In particular Dragon Shiryu takes the brunt of this. His fights tend to rage on for a long time with him taking every bit of punishment possible. At the end of the day though the Saints always get back up and it’s pretty inspiring.

The soundtrack is also good although I wouldn’t call it stellar or anything. The soundtrack as a whole seems a little limited considering how long the show is. That said, the main battle theme is sound though and I never had a problem with the music while watching the show. The songs match the scene in question really well so they did a good job of making sure that things were pairing up nicely.

Overall, Saint Seiya is a timeless classic. It’s aged really well and I expect that this will still be true 20 years from now. This anime doesn’t adapt the Hades saga but it covers the rest of the manga and is a great starting point for fans. The franchise has definitely expanded quite a bit since these original days and I look forward to seeing how the sequels fare someday. The show can be pretty intense so you may be surprised when starting it how badly the heroes get beaten but it’s all in a combat context and never gets too crazy. I’d say that anyone who enjoys a good action anime will definitely like the series. It’s just a blast. Between the strong writing and solid pacing, you’re bound to love the series.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya: Shining Soldiers Review


It’s time to look at a recent mobile game that I downloaded. Saint Seiya always looked like it would be another fun installment and I remember seeing a few articles about it. Mobile games are definitely on the rise as of late and it’s nice to see that the quality has stayed consistently high as well. I think that’s usually a pretty tough trick but with how profitable these games tend to be it makes sense to craft them really well. This is another great mobile game that will only get better with time.

When you launch the game be prepared for around 20 tutorials. It’s hard to keep track of all the information so I would usually head to Reddit if I want to know more. The game does its best not to be too overwhelming and I would say that the menu layouts are pretty solid. For a gatcha game like this you can only simplify it so much after all. You get free items every day which is always cool and it’s like a daily routine to start with. You then have an energy meter so you can play a bunch of matches and modes until you run out. You never have to worry about running out when playing levels for the first time though because they will recharge your meter automatically. This only comes into play when doing re-runs.

There are a ton of modes here of course. One of the big ones is online but I don’t recommend going there until you’ve played offline for a while and leveled up your characters. I’ve done pretty well for myself in most PVP options for these games but in Saint Seiya mine were too low level to bother with it so I skipped out on that part this time. You can also summon new characters with jewels or play through the story mode. As with most mobile games the story will be getting new chapters periodically. Surprisingly the story is very short at the moment. I cleared all of the levels in under 3 hours which is pretty much unheard of for a mobile title. Usually you launch with a ton of them. Just look at Seven Deadly Sins which had over 10 hours of story content at launch. Saint Seiya can learn a thing or two from that one.

Interestingly rather than go chronologically the game starts every arc with a few battles. The Golden Saints arc goes up to Ikki vs Shaka while the others all just have the opening fights. The Hades arc is another exception as it jumps right to Kanon vs the 3 Generals. It’s an interesting approach but there should have been way more story levels if you ask me. Then you have the temporary specials so you want to play those levels before they’re gone. There is one for Cassios and one for Mu. Most Gatcha games follow the same trends and this one is no exception. Since I played a lot of Dragon Ball Legends back in the day it was all pretty formidable.

The gameplay is a 3 vs 3 battle with 1 v 1 fights at a time. It’s similar to Pokemon so you want to switch out if you’re in a bad match up. You then choose your attack and the last team standing wins. The gameplay is very smooth and the attacks look quite solid. The graphics in general are definitely top tier here. The armors really stand out and everything feels high end and fresh. You couldn’t tell that this is a mobile game and that’s been true for so many lately that there almost isn’t even a point in saying so anymore. It’s just how it is at this point and that’s a good state for the games to be in.

The soundtrack is very limited, but effective. The opening theme is the old theme song which is really good because that one has aged quite well. During the cutscenes we have a nice danger theme and the music during the gameplay is solid. You won’t hear a lot more than that, but each theme is quite solid so the limited variety doesn’t really end up hurting you. You’re having too much fun with the gameplay to worry about it.

So my only issue with the game is the length, but unlike ARMS we have a lot of different modes to enjoy here. You can jump online as I mentioned or play in one of the many events. You will need to spend a lot of time upgrading your characters as well and grabbing materials. It can get very time consuming to build the perfect team and with new characters being added constantly you can’t really take a break. One thing about these kinds of games is that they are long term commitments if you want to be the best online. If the offline content is all you care about then you don’t need to worry so much as those battles rarely get all that difficult. In DB Legends it took a long time and tons of chapters to get to the point where you really needed to try.

Overall, Shining Soldiers is a great title. If you’ve got some time and want a good action packed mobile title then this is the one for you. It looks like it’ll be doing a good job of adapting the whole Saint Seiya series and it’s always nice to see Aiolos show up since the guy never got much of a role in the actual series. You’ll best enjoy the game if you’re not playing another Gatcha title right now. I’ve noticed that it’s always tough to balance more than one of them in part because they all tend to be the same game just repackaged a bit. Shining Soldiers can hold its own blow for blow with any of the others though.

Overall 8/10